STARE AND STARE ALIKE
Marina Abramović’s sturdy performance in her Museum of Modern Art survey "Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present," for which she sits at a table in the museum atrium facing visitors for the duration of the show, is scheduled to continue until May 31, 2010. In the meantime, as is pointed out by photo dealer James Danziger on his The Year in Pictures blog, photographer Marco Anelli has, at the direction of the museum, documented all the participants and noted the amount of time they spent in the chair, posting the pictures both on Flickr and MoMA’s own website.
On Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2010, Artnet Magazine columnist Charlie Finch, in what he calls "my own endurance test," looked at all 716 snapshots of the people staring at Abramović and took some notes on the visitors. His results: "The day is numbered first, followed by the picture number for that day, so that Lou Reed, for example, is Day 6/Pic 24. Other notables include Anne Pasternak 27/4, Clarissa Dalrymple 1/15, Andre Balasz 4/2, Ena Swansea 1/4, Penny Arcade 14/23, Haley Mellin 8/2, Robert Wilson 18/15, Mary Barone 22/6, Agnes Gund 32/1, Kathe Burkhardt 31/21, Sean Kelly 34/8, Christine Amanpour 34/7, Arthur Danto 33/1, Barbara Danto 33/2.
Whitney Museum curator Chrissie Iles appears five times, and four other women appear three times each. Of the 716 participants, just 9 are black. Number of people with eyes closed: 2. Number of children: 6. Number of people with sunglass: 2. A man with a black moustache and slicked-down black hair" -- a New York hairdresser named Paco Blancas, who has been written about by the New York Post -- "appears 11 times! Finally, I counted two fellas with twirled moustaches."
Meanwhile, Live! with Regis & Kelly this morning did its own satire -- straight out of Mad Magazine, or so it seemed -- on the Abramović performance piece. As Regis explained it, the show’s director, who is named Art Moore, can out-stare anyone, and Regis wanted to arrange to have him participate in "The Artist Is Present." After the museum turned down the request, Regis sent Art out on the street for stare-downs with passersby, ending with the show’s guest of the day, Avatar actress Zoe Saldana. Typically, of course, the wags have been taking aim at the nudity in the show, so Regis gets a point here for breaking with the herd.
ARTS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK IN GEORGIA
The Georgia art community rallied in Augusta on Monday, Apr. 19, 2010, with hundreds of "musicians, actors and puppeteers" protesting proposed cuts to the Georgia Council for the Arts. Plenty of state arts agencies are taking hits across the U.S., but Georgia became the first to contemplate eliminating state arts support wholesale, when the Georgia House passed a budget that would completely defund the institution. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that signs carried by protestors included the slogans "art equals jobs," "Look up, an artist created the gold dome" and "How could you be so art-less?"
Perhaps in response to the pressure, the state Senate on Tuesday passed a second version of the state budget, which restores some money to the Georgia Council. The two bills now have to be reconciled. One way or another, the council is expected to take a severe hit: Governor Sonny Perdue’s proposal for 2011 already cuts the state’s art funding from $2.52 million, to $890,735.
ALL EDWARD KOREN, ALL THE TIME
Beloved New Yorker cartoonist Edward Koren -- a grad of both Columbia University and Pratt Institute, and a New Yorker cartoonist since 1962 -- is the subject of two New York exhibitions opening in the next week. First up is "Edward Koren: Parallel Play, Drawings 1979-2010," Apr. 27-June 2, 2010, at the Luise Ross Gallery at 511 West 25th Street in Chelsea. Large finished drawings can be had for $4,000.
Then the Wallach Art Gallery of Columbia University opens "The Capricious Line," Apr. 28-June 12, 2010, a larger survey that includes a suite of panoramic drawings inspired by dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History. The exhibition is organized by Brooklyn Museum curator emerita Diana Fane and CU art history prof David Rosand, and includes a catalogue.
DONALD JUDD: THE FABRICATION CONFERENCE
The first-ever conference on Donald Judd’s working method, "Donald Judd: Delegated Fabrication," goes off at the University of Oregon in Portland on Sunday, Apr. 25, 2010. The day-long conference features a presentation by Peter Ballantine, Judd’s longtime fabricator, and lectures by Yale Art School dean Robert Storr and Portland (Ore.) Art Museum curator Bruce Guenther. Tickets, which include a box lunch, are $85.
NEW ERA FOR FREDERIEKE TAYLOR GALLERY
Frederieke Taylor Gallery, long a top-floor resident of the 535 West 22nd Street gallery building in New York’s Chelsea district, is holding its final show at its current location: "Christy Rupp, Wake Up and Smell the Benzine," Apr. 8-May 8, 2010. The show includes collages combining images of landscape with technological catastrophe, and hand-felted wool portraits of oil containers. Also on view at the gallery is "10th Anniversary Invitation, Part II."
Dealer Taylor says she looks forward to the gallery’s new incarnation in a private space on East 29th Street, representing artists and artist’s projects, but without a public exhibition gallery.
ONLINE JOHNNY CASH ART PROJECT
Hey artists! Interested in doing a little free, crowd-sourced labor to promote the legacy of an American legend? Such is the proposition of The Johnny Cash Project, a collaborative online music video for Cash’s moving single Ain’t No Grave, from his final album, American VI: Ain’t No Grave, which was released earlier this year. The initiative is brainchild of video director Chris Milk, who put together a clip for the song, featuring the Man in Black wandering along train tracks, reading the Bible, holding a crow, smoking a cigarette while reclining on the grave of A.P. Carter, and other activities that reflect the song’s theme of death and redemption.
The website lets visitors render frames from the film as drawings using an online tool, and submit them, to be reassembled together as a single animated clip for the song. Since the launch of the project three weeks ago, some 5,000 drawings have been submitted. The video is different each time it is watched online, as the site randomly selects which drawings to use for each frame.
The effect is undeniably spooky, something like the hand-drawn animations of William Kentridge, with halos, crosses and all sorts of other images suddenly appearing and just as abruptly disappearing. All the same, "The Johnny Cash Project" does seem to indicate that certain avant-garde tropes of collaboration, chance and digital collage have definitively passed into commercial video cliché – "The Johnny Cash Project" even echoes Paul Slocum’s You’re Not My Father, for which the digital artist solicited contributors from the internet to recreate a 10-second clip from Full House (although Slocum, ahem, paid his contributors).
As affecting as the Cash clip is, Milk didn’t originally envision using his idea for the song. "While he had originally intended to work with a living artist, I suggested Johnny Cash," says producer Rick Rubin in a press release. "He thought about it and realized that Johnny's passing changed the meaning of the project for the better, and The Johnny Cash Project was born."